At last we are getting orienteering back into gear with increasing participation. Last weekend's event at Narrinyeri Hills long distance champs, put on by Wallaringa, attracted 135 entrants, and a great day it was!
Despite some early concerns for running the Schools Camps because of COVID restrictions, the orienteering community prevailed, and the event at Thorndon Park went ahead in great weather, with many enthusiastic participants, thanks to Zita the organiser and all the support from the many orienteers.
The permanent courses and Map Run offer great opportunities to maintain orienteering fitness in these constraining times. Don’t forget to enter the Flinders Ranges events on the October Long Weekend!
Vale Barb Smith, our condolences go to the Smith family on the passing of Barb, who with Ian were staunch supporters of orienteering, and very active members of Yalanga.
From the editor
Perhaps not said enough, but orienteering in SA would not be as active and attractive as it is without the considerable time and effort put in by several dedicated volunteers. These include event organisers and helpers, map-makers, coaches, school organisers, and club, state and national officials who work in the background to ensure that near-term and future events are properly planned and funded. Not least of all, and probably the reason why you're reading this newsletter, are the efforts of OSA's IT and facebook administrators and their helpers, and the editor of the weekly Enews.
This newsletter includes a summary of SA and NT event results, a report on the SA School Championships and the Schools Cluster program, my selection of the SA Champion of Long Champions, an example of a Covid-constrained OSA committee meeting, some old O-maps, an article on taking bearings, a new windfarm proposal that could impact on orienteering in SA, some overseas news, a few snippets, an update on how Covid has affected key orienteering nations, information on and link to the latest Australian Orienteer magazine, plenty of gallery photos, .... and finally the event program for the next three months.
Despite Covid lockdowns affecting all sports, orienteering in SA and NT has been surprisingly active since June as well as in virtual form during the severe lockdown period in prior months. In addition to training events, an average of over two competitive events a week open to all-comers were held in SA and NT since June. Highlight events have been the school championships, orienteer of the year events, club relays, and most recently the SA long championships. Click event name with links to go to respective results' pages. For all results, including splits, RouteGadget and OY results, going back to 2013 click here.
The 2020 SA Schools Championships were held at Thorndon Park on the 28th of August.
Initially this date had been planned for the schools relay championships, but with our initial date for the individuals (25th of May) wiped out by COVID 19, the decision was finally made to forego the relays for this year and try to manage the individuals on the later date.
The decision to actually go ahead was a long and difficult one, but in the end it was decided that, as long as restrictions did not escalate further, we should be able to manage a somewhat different champs while abiding by the required restrictions.
Thanks to Zita Sankauskas for stepping into the organiser role and to Al Sankauskas for gamely taking on the responsibility for the computing side of things. Clive and Marian Arthur acted as Course Setters. Robin Uppill ably controlled the event with Craig Colwell taking on the start team.
This year the COVID restrictions meant some changes to the usual set up. Space was a key consideration so schools were allocated their own space, with enough allocated for social distancing regulations for the number they were bringing.
The usual ball games etc which usually keep the kids busy while they wait for the completion of the day were discouraged due to the need to all touch the same equipment.
Schools were encouraged to arrive, run and then leave as soon as possible, with the usual “squashed together” presentation out of the question. Trophies are being sent to the winning schools to be awarded at assembly, with certificates for winning students also being delivered in this way.
Numbers of students from each school were limited to 30 and only students with orienteering experience of at least a couple of events of some kind could attend. This meant that we had only 150 of the most accomplished students entered for the day.
There were no results on display (so no crowding together around the results area) and results were published after the event on Eventor, as well as being sent out to schools.
Students were also allowed to keep their maps when they finished, with a “Fair Play” rule in place so that maps were not shown to runners who had not yet started.
The weather co-operated beautifully, offering up a sunny day and ideal conditions for this event.
In the lead up to the championships there has been a lot of effort spent in schools with both programs in the schools and after school. Among these have been the successful schools cluster events held on a weekday afternoon after school for the last four weeks with parents attending.
Special thanks to Aylwin, Ben, Evalin, Angus and Zita who have put in many hours of setting, encouraging, organising, and running of these cluster events in an effort to prepare the students. With only a low number of mispunches, and many fast times, the preparation showed. It has been great to see some of the students coming to weekend events with parents.
Experience also showed in the results with Goodwood Primary taking out the Primary win and Healthfield High winning the seniors.
Top 3 results were:
Stirling East Primary
School Championships Photo Gallery
Click/tap to zoom. Then click/spread to see at full resolution. Click left/right arrows, or drag, to see the complete gallery.
The school cluster programs were conducted at various locations including central Adelaide, Stirling, Echunga, Seaford, Hawthorndene and the mid-North. Organisers included Zita, Aylwin, Ben, Evalin and Patsy.
Kids from various schools were taught orienteering in after-school sessions, especially in the lead-up to the School Championships in August.
These sessions have been instrumental in generating enthusiasm for the School Championships, and we hope that these families will go on to attend our regular OSA events.
This year's program concluded with an event at Heywood Park on 17 September. A great evening of orienteering was enjoyed by 42 who braved the windy weather. It was wonderful to see the torches everywhere, as the kids made their way around three loops with a central 'skull' pivot control. Thanks to Ben for setting the courses. Having 48 different possible courses made it very confusing for many!
Thanks also to Stuart and Ben for organising the BBQ, Helena for baking the cake, and Kym and Lyn for helping with the service and results. Thanks too to, Adrian for making our new lightweight control stands, which got their first use today!
Photos from the schools cluster
Click/tap to zoom. Then click/spread to see at full resolution. Click left/right arrows, or drag, to see the complete gallery.
There were no hidden surprises in the SA Long Championships held at Narrinyeri Hills (Kinchina Conservation Park) on 13th September.
The process published in the March 2019 newsletter makes it possible to compare all A-class winners' performances by estimating the effects of distance, gender and age on finish times using speed profiles derived from international running and orienteering competition records. Adjusted class winning times can then be compared directly with the winning time of the M21A class winner (time adjusted to 100) to produce an estimate of performance based on a common international standard. Class winners with an estimated performance greater than 100 will have performed at a higher level (none this time) than the M21A winner, and those with performance less than 100 at a lower level.
The analysis showed that Simon Uppill (M21A winner) achieved the best result. Although adjustments overestimate performance by a small margin for classes below M/W16 because courses are slightly easier, these class results were included below. This analysis showed that Marcus Cazzolato (M12A) was the next best performer, with Paul Hoopman (M65A) 3rd.
Some photos from the Long Championships
Click/tap to zoom. Then click/spread to see at full resolution. Click left/right arrows, or drag, to see the complete gallery.
All monthly committee meetings of Orienteering SA have continued during the Covid restrictions, but in virtual form. Erica Diment as secretary made this happen using the Zoom computer application, and sent the editor a screen capture of the August meeting. To see more detail, click or tap the image to enlarge. The two members in the bottom row are looking relaxed - presumably after a hard days work!
Kay Haarsma recently found the following old O-maps. The two Mount Pleasant maps show the courses in the first official Australian mountain bike orienteering event held in 1995 and described in Kay's article in the June OSA newsletter. The third map is of Peo Bengtsson's house in Sweden made in 1980 or earlier. Now 87 years old and with nearly 6,000 events completed, Peo visited Australia with some Swedish friends in the 1970s to teach us how to make good maps. Kay visited Peo's house in 1980 as part of one of his two week O tours of Europe. There is an article on Peo on page 45 in the September Australian Orienteer magazine.
On August 15th and 16th SA Orienteers enjoyed two events in the Mid North.
The event on the Saturday was at Tundarri (some of you will remember it from National Events). The area is flattish with a few creeks, and a few clearings among Mallee growth. For our middle distance event here some of us were greeted by a first control which took us just over 600m to a cliff in the river with very little opportunity to use map-to-ground skills.
Over a third of the orienteers appear to have fallen into the trap and took longer than they should have on this leg, having eventually come to the river, but not in the correct place. I found myself about 200m away to the East on the tight bend (on the very edge of the picture) and had to relocate from there, and was already over five minutes behind the leader in my class by the time I found my first control!
Being able to follow a bearing was a key skill in succeeding on this leg.
So what are the things to think about when you face a leg like this? I’d love to hear your feedback in future issues, and to learn from the experience of others, but for now, here are my thoughts:
Learn how to use your compass
Take the time to learn how to use your compass so that it becomes second nature. There are various techniques that orienteers use to take a bearing with their compass. The choice partly depends on whether you use a baseplate or thumb compass. Put into dot points I would summarise the technique that I (and many others ) use for a thumb compass in the following way:
Put the compass on your map with the edge on the line where you want to go
Hold the compass there and turn yourself (holding your map in front of you) until the north needle of the compass is in line with the north lines on the map (make sure you have North, not South)
Follow the line of the side of your compass (or the direction arrow, which should be the same)
Check your direction by checking that north needle is still aligned with the north lines on the map and that the direction of your compass is still pointing where you want it to be.
In the photo here you can see that the edge of my thumb compass is on the line of travel from the start to control 1 and I have rotated myself so that the north needle is parallel to the north lines on the map. (facing back toward me)
Now all I need to do is walk in the direction of the line and I will be on my correct bearing.
Once you have this technique in your head it is quick and easy to use. It has the added benefit of making it very easy to “thumb” the map using the point at the top of the direction arrow on your compass as you move along.
This technique is described in a training sheet found on the Orienteering Australia website that you might find helpful.
Be careful to keep your compass flat when you are using it, and to hold it out in front of you. Also be aware that metal objects (including metal in rocks) can affect the compass accuracy.
How can I keep that bearing accurate?
It’s much easier to keep a bearing accurate if you have good vision into the distance. If you have this you can pick a distant point in the correct direction and keep on heading towards that for the distance that you need to go.
If you do not have a good view it is useful to take shorter bearings to objects that you can see ahead of you and then re-check the bearing , using a new object to aim for.
It seems a bit crazy, but I still find it useful to physically draw a line from my compass in the air in front of me pointing in the direction that I want to go. It seems to help me to keep my accuracy.
If you have obstacles in your way it can be helpful to dodge to the left the first time and then to the right the next time.
Some orienteers find that they tend to veer one way or the other consistently. If you are one of these, then you need to be constantly conscious of it and compensate for this tendency.
Keep your bearings as short as you can. The longer you need to travel on the one bearing the more chance there is of error.
Use other basic skills as well
When I was first learning to orienteer a wise man told me “always use more than one of the three basic skills”. This is as good advice now as it was back nearly 20 years ago. The three basic skills are distance, direction and map to ground. In this case we are using direction, but we really want to be using map to ground and/or distance as well. Distance isn’t much help – we will get to the river anyway (unless we are very off course!). Map to ground isn’t much help either. Even with a bearing which is quite wrong we are likely to cross the two creeks close to the start, and then there is nothing useful until the track (which goes along the whole way and has no distinct direction changes or recognisable points). Usually there is more than this that you can use.
What other techniques might help?
So you then need to bring out the armoury and use some of your more advanced skills.
In this case, aiming off will be a useful technique. You can use aiming off any time you are heading towards a linear feature (river, road, fence). What you do is aim deliberately to either left or right, so that when you reach your feature you will know which way to turn to find the control. Although it means you take a little longer because you have to cover a little more distance, you can also save yourself a lot of time.
Aim to go to the left (or right) of the control on the creek so that you then know to turn right (or left) to find your control.
I hope that this helps you the next time a tricky course setter plans to challenge you with this sort of orienteering puzzle.
New windfarm proposals - possible impacts on orienteering
Neoen, a French company that already operates the Hornsdale Windfarm and Hornsdale Power reserve and the Tesla Battery near Peterborough, has submitted a proposal to develop a new project incorporating wind and solar power generation and battery storage. They are calling the project “Goyder South Hybrid Renewable Energy Facility”. The location of the proposed facility is South of Burra and North of Robertstown and it may impact slightly on the southern end of the Worlds End Orienteering map.
This project is the first of two proposed projects (the other being Goyder North – North of Burra). The Northern project may also impact on some of our orienteering country (notably the Paradise map).
The Southern Project will involve:
A wind farm of 163 turbines
A solar farm spread across 2 sites of up to 3000ha
A lithium ion battery
Infrastructure for connection to the electricity grid including three substations, access tracks, underground cabling, transmission lines and some compounds for operation and maintenance
Meterorological masts to record wind speed and other data.
The proposal would take place over 12 years in three stages.
Wallaringa overseas member Ben Schultz sent the email below to his home club at the end of August. It demonstrates an amazing feat in promoting, mapping, organising and running an event (note the bilingual control descriptions). We are grateful to Ben for expanding our horizons and bringing variety in our Covid-19 limited world.
Hi Peter & Frank,
Attached is the full long-map from yesterday’s event at Mangaliliu on Efate in Vanuatu....10m contours, so not flat. It is mainly secondary-growth jungle terrain, so difficult to see far but the contours and boulders are prominent (many of the larger boulders are around 8m high, yet we still missed a couple when mapping - the joys of jungle). In the end people found their way around the course so the map must have been at least reasonably accurate; something of a relief.
We had a long, short and kids course. The long-course wasn't very long, but the difficulty of the terrain and the lack of experience amongst competitors meant the fastest time was 1 hour 22 minutes.
We expected around 30 people and had 100 turn up. Fortunately there were just enough maps to go around (with a bit of sharing for some who went in groups). It was a great day, people loved it however as there were only two of us organising the entire thing (including map making) we were utterly knackered by the end.
We had around 30 from the local village join which was fantastic and the chief of the village has asked for another event to be held. I think the village kids are hounding him :)
Anyway, I may be marooned in the Pacific however orienteering continues unabated.
Inspired by the Covid lockdown, Lockdown Orienteering was created and supported by several international orienteers. Its aim was to generate orienteering challenges in the form of virtual events that competitors could do from home while waiting for real orienteering to restart. In addition, money was raised for several international orienteering causes, and interviews were held with famous orienteers.
OO Mapper is free mapping software that can be installed on Windows (7 and higher), MacOS (10.12 and higher), and Android (4.1 and higher) computers.
Since the last newsletter, there have been two updates (current version 0.9.3) that add new or improved features and correct bugs. Key changes include improved drawing, import of files for use as templates/background maps, and a preliminary ISSprOM 2019 symbol set to replace ISSOM.
OCAD is Windows-only software and is now only available as a subscription version for single users or teams.
The annual license for the full team version is just under twice the single user fee (about $A375 compared with $A220), and two users can use OCAD per team license. Although sounding restrictive, OCAD offers the option to transfer licenses between team users within 24 hours. Thus, several team members could have OCAD installed on their computers but only two members per license would be able use it at any one time. Discounts are available for three year licenses and volume purchases, and there are also limited and cheaper versions.
The current version of OCAD is 20.5.3 and users are notified of new updates when they start the program. Older non-subscription versions of OCAD have not been updated for some time. For more information on updates and features go to the OCAD website
How has Covid-19 affected orienteering around the world?
The IOF announced that many international events were cancelled because of the pandemic with the focus turning to 2021 and beyond. However, despite constraints imposed by Covid restrictions around the world, key orienteering nations still managed to minimise the effect on national competitions and training with June and July seeing the reemergence of competitions, training camps, and travel to some international events.
Below are summaries of O-news from the orienteering countries covered in the last newsletter. By comparison, and based on data from the beginning of September, Covid confirmed cases per million of population (deaths/million in brackets) for Sweden was about 8,310 (571), Switzerland 5,150 (235), Denmark 3,100 (108), Norway 2,070 (49), and Finland 1,500 (61). While imposing early border lockdowns, Denmark and Norway have largely opened their borders to Sweden and are now recording higher daily infection rates than Sweden.
Australian Covid cases are currently running at about 1,050 (32) per million and New Zealand at 360 (5). Our interstate and national competition program has been severely constrained by Covid restrictions and international travel is almost impossible, unlike O-nations in Europe!
Sweden had been operating a relatively unrestricted Covid policy based more on personal responsibility than government-directed restrictions. This resulted in the country having a high infection rate. However, one restriction that imposed constraints on orienteering was a 50-person rule on gatherings imposed in March, which the Swedish orienteering federation and other outdoor sports' organisations, such as those held in forests, on open water or on the road, argued was too restrictive and inappropriate for their sports. In early August these outdoor sports' organisations met with the government's Minister for Sport but made little progress. The main sticking point was the number of spectators who attend Swedish orienteering and other sports' events. By the end of August, this issue had still not been resolved, although, ever optimistic, they claimed progress was being made!
Despite the restrictions on orienteering, some mountain bike and elite foot events were held involving international competitors. O-news releases indicate that Tove Alexandersson appears to have recovered from the heart problem following the "Covid-like but untested" infection she experienced in late March - winning has resumed!
The orienteering season restarted slowly in early June, and major middle and sprint events were held later in the month, with a long event held in early July.
Julia Jakob's (née Gross) transition to retirement did not work out as planned with the cancellation of this year's WOC, but once committed she decided now was definitely the time to retire and place family ahead of sport.
At the end of August, leading orienteers were tested on the athletics track, with Joey Hadorn and Sabine Hauswirth running times of 14:38 and 17:10 respectively for the 5,000m.
Other Swiss O-news including reports of events can be found here.
Although spring orienteering was cancelled, training and training camps appear to have continued within government constraints, such as social distancing, hygiene, groups sizes (maximum 50), etc, during the Covid lockdown. The government limit on the number of participants at outdoor events was raised to 100 in July and was to have risen to 200 in August. An exception to this general rule was if there is a significant geographical spread between participants (orienteering was named by the government as an example) participant numbers could be greater, but a maximum of 100 participants was only allowed in start and finish areas.
The Danish Championships (middle forest and sprint) were held at the end of August. In order to manage the large number of entrants, the competitions were divided into older/morning and younger/afternoon classes with instructions that all morning race participants' vehicles must have left the carpark before the afternoon event could start. Over 500 entrants finished the middle forest event and a limit of 475 starters was applied to the sprint with start times spread over five hours.
As reported in the last newsletter, Norway's Covid restrictions were more restrictive than those applying in Sweden and were similar to those in Australia. Despite these restrictions many events were held under Covid rules with some attracting international competitors. For example, a Danish team competed in a sprint league event indicating that international cross-border competition and travel in Europe is more open than in Australia and New Zealand.
During a period of greatest restrictions, Kasper Fosser, last year's WOC long silver medalist while still a junior, ran an impressive 8:06 for 3,000m on the track. A description of a local event held in early June, a sprint, indicated that 220 competitors were divided into two time groups with an instruction to run and then go home! Since then there has been a gradual build up of events but no major national events. Wary of infection control during the pandemic, there appears to be some reluctance to commit to attending major international events, such as Euromeeting 2020, to be held in late October/early November in the Czech Republic.
Competitions returned in August under strict and comprehensive "corona" organisational guidelines. Because of an increase in infections during August, the guidelines will remain in place during September. These allow events of over 50 participants to be organised but no spectators. The guidelines include similar requirements to those adopted in SA, plus others that reflect the larger number of competitors expected at Finnish events. A summary of the guidelines can be viewed here.
With no AUS Championships Carnival this year our juniors are missing the chance to catch up with friends and participate in major events, so we looked for ways to recognise and celebrate our Juniors across the country. The September edition celebrates junior orienteers from WA, SA and Tasmania. Juniors from other States will be recognised in the December magazine. In the September magazine we also take a detailed look at how MTBO started, Steve Bird continues his series on "How to Improve your Orienteering", Ross Barr explores the foibles of the "Triangle Kiss", we congratulate the recipients of IOF and OA awards, there's a section on MapRun which has been a real boon in Covid times, the NSW Institute of Sport shows us how to be positive about our nutrition, there's some exercises for the mind in Spot the Difference and Navigation Nightmare, there's a profile on Sweden's Peo Bengtsson (87 years old, still going strong and 5940 events to his name), and Tash Key sits down with Orienteering's power couple Vroni Konig-Salmi and Janne Salmi. There's also O-Spy, News and Duncan Currie's "Jeff".
The spring period is when the local orienteering calendar transitions from mainly bush events held on Sundays to urban events held Friday evenings. For the latest program information go to the OSA Event page. The confirmed program on 16 September to December organised by Adelaide and surrounds, Lincoln, Saltbush and Top End clubs is as follows:
Warning: because of Covid-19 restrictions, all events are subject to change or cancellation at short notice. It is important that you regularly check event details with organisers.
If you have any thoughts on what you would like to read or see in future newsletters, would like to submit an article or photo, or have comments on this or previous newsletters, please let the editor know using the form here.